Managed fires

Fire is a natural ecosystem process. Many land managers in the southeastern U.S. understand that prescribed burning as an essential tool for restoring and maintaining biodiversity in fire-adapted forests and grasslands. The role of wildfire, however, is less widely accepted as a means to maintain healthy, resilient ecosystems. The term wildfire implies a fire that…  More 

Focus on Joseph O’Brien

This is a new type of article focusing on the people behind the science. These articles will profile SRS employees – from different job series and locations – whose work fulfills and supports the Station’s mission. “I am intrigued by the connection between fire and its role in maintaining biodiversity,” says Joseph O’Brien, a research…  More 

Fighting future fires

Climate change threatens communities around the world with the promise of more floods, drought, extreme heat, hurricanes – and wildfire. As these events increase in frequency, they will add new pressures to the federal budget. The USDA Forest Service has already taken proactive steps to mitigate some of these impacts. The agency recently established a…  More 

Prescribed fire history affects pollinator diversity in southern forests

Landscapes with diverse fire histories – or pyrodiverse landscapes – have higher diversity of pollinators, as a recent study by USDA Forest Service scientist Michael Ulyshen shows. The study was published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Tall Timbers Research Station, the study location, is nestled in the Red Hills Ecoregion of the Coastal…  More 

Prescribed fire science: Why it’s needed now more than ever

Much of what is known about planned fire comes from a burn manager’s memory. “It takes years to get that kind of experience,” says Joseph O’Brien, fire research ecologist with the USDA Forest Service. “If things are changing, like invasive species or climate, or if you’re a new manager, you need help.” O’Brien, writing in…  More 

Mind the gap? Pines love it!

  The bigger the gap the more pines grow Especially when site treatment keeps hardwood growth slow But if a mixedwood stand Is the forest we desire Advanced hardwood regen Should be allowed to grow higher. USDA Forest Service scientist Don Bragg collaborated on a study recently published in Forest Ecology and Management that considered…  More 

Northern red oak: a contender or a member?

Northern red oak in the Appalachians Grows to be stately at high elevations But is there regen? And what makes it thrive? Harvest makes light to keep it alive But fire suppression helps mesophytes reign A little control may help red oak sustain Site treatment with fire and some herbicide May help each species to…  More 

Conserving trees for endangered bats

Tricolored bats (Perimyotis subflavus) in South Carolina are threatened by habitat loss and white-nose syndrome. New research shows where they roost during winter, and where they and northern yellow bats (Lasiurus intermedius) roost in summer. Northern yellow bats are considered a species a special concern in South Carolina. USDA Forest Service scientist Susan Loeb contributed…  More 

Burrowing crayfish prefer burning to boiling

Crayfish burrow amongst the prairie roots But are they affected by the woody shoots? Turns out as the woody stems get tall The number of crayfish burrow openings begins to fall. We know many species benefit from fire, but burrowing crayfish? USDA Forest Service scientist Susan Adams led a study that found the number of…  More 

Top ten of 2021

We hope you enjoy this collection of the most popular CompassLive stories of 2021. Each article highlights the people, partnerships, and natural wonders of the South. For the past century, USDA Forest Service research has contributed to healthier, more sustainable southern forests.   ______________________ One acorn, two acorns, three acorns, four… How to evaluate acorn crops  Every year, state wildlife…  More